Protecting Crops from Animals and Birds
Crop damage caused by animal and bird attacks is one of the major threats in reducing crop yield. Crops are mainly damaged by local animals like buffaloes, cows, pigs, goats, birds, and fire, etc. This leads to huge losses for the farmers. Agriculture farming is the main source of livelihood for many people in different parts of the world. Unfortunately, farmers are still reliant on traditional methods that have evolved hundreds of years ago. Due to this, the crop yields are becoming low. Also, several reasons contribute to the low yield of crops animal intrusion is also one among them. Wild animals are a special challenge for farmers throughout the world in recent years. Some wild animals like wild boars, elephants, deer, tigers, and monkeys, etc., cause serious damage to crops by running over the field and trampling over the crops. It causes a financial problem for the farmers. Farmers with a large area of agricultural land find it very tedious to irrigate their land manually.
A Step by Step Guide to Protecting Crops from Animals and Birds
If you are into commercial farming, you must be aware of protecting crops from animals and birds.
Protect Your Crops and Trees against Animals
Wild animals like monkeys, elephants, wild pigs, deer, wild dogs, bison, nilgai, stray animals like cows and buffaloes, and even birds like parakeets cause a lot of crops damage by running over them eating, and vandalizing them. This leads to poor crop yield and significant financial loss to the owners of the farmland.
To minimize food safety risks related to wild and domestic animals, every farm should;
- Identify and evaluate risks posed by wild and domestic animals.
- Consider some methods to prevent animal entry through the use of fences, noise cannons, or other deterrents.
- Reduce or eliminate animal attractants like standing water, cull piles, and nesting areas.
- Monitor and document animal activity on the farm.
- Conduct field assessments before harvest.
- Train all workers carefully to follow company policies regarding monitoring animal activity and proper harvest procedures.
Animals and birds may cause serious damage to crops. Then, they can damage the plants by feeding on plant parts or simply by running over the field and trampling over the crops. Wild animals may cause significant yield losses and provoke additional financial problems. Wild animal crop protection needs a particularly cautious approach.
There are multiple ways to protect your crops/trees, namely;
- Put an electric fence around the planting place. The electric fence will not harm the animals, but scare the animals away;
- Birds eat the seeds of the plants and then place a net over your crops. Make sure that the crops or trees will get enough light.
Strategies to Protect Crops from Wild Animals
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Successful farmers always seek to determine the satisfactory level of wild animal crop protection using one of the below technologies;
1. Agricultural fences like Wire fences, Wood fences, Plastic fences, and Electric fences
2. Natural repellents like Smoke, Fish or garlic natural emulsion, Chilli peppers, Lavender and beans, Egg-based repellent
3. Chemical repellent
4. Biophysical barriers
5. Electronic repellent
Prevent animal entry through the use of fences, noise cannons, and another type of deterrents. Animal controls and deterrents can be used when problems are identified or needed based on observations done on the farm. Decoys like plastic coyotes, owls, and swans, are effective if they are actively moved around the farm to deter wildlife. Also, noisemakers can be effective, but animals may become desensitized to the noise over time. Fencing can be an effective deterrent, but it could not be practical for larger farms; however, small portions of fencing may direct animals around the high value or sensitive crops to other areas. Nuisance permits can be another option but check with your local Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) before choosing this method.
1. Agricultural fences
Fencing is one of the popular animal protection practices that can last for many years. Though, utilizing fences as a practice is often regulated. Some local and state entities restrict or prevent the use of certain types of fences. So, before deciding on a suitable fence, it’s important to check local law regulations. The quality of fencing mainly depends on the material and structure. Depending on how fencing is made and what it is made of, some permanent fences can last up to 30 years. Farmers use one of the following types of fences;
Wire fences – Wire fences constructed of metal wires woven together forming a physical barrier. The fences are effective, long-lasting, and require little maintenance. Though, they are expensive and recommended only for the protection of high-value crops.
Plastic fences – Plastic fences or polypropylene fences are less expensive and easier to install and repair than other types. Also, these fences are widely acceptable and meet various regulations. The main disadvantage includes their short lifespan of up to 10 years and questionable effectiveness in areas with a higher possibility of wild animal crop damage.
Electric fences – Electric fences are constructed to inflict an electric shock to animals that come in contact with the fence, therefore preventing animals from crossing the fence. These Electric fences are long-lasting and an effective crop protection measure. Costs change depending on the specific type and size of an area. It’s very important to make sure they are allowed for use in the specific area, and protection against endangered animal species before purchasing these fences. Also, it’s recommended that electric fences are marked with a warning sign to prevent any possible human contact. Electric fencing for crops can be used as a permanent fence but it is also is used for temporary fencing such as when the fence needs to be relocated from leased property.
The main advantages of Electric fencing are;
- Electric fences can be less expensive than physical fences, are easier to construct and relocate.
- It is more adaptable to rugged terrain. It can also provide effectiveness when used in combination with physical fences acting as a further barrier from impacts from the animals. Electric fencing is highly advantageous in prohibiting predators.
2. Natural repellents
Some people prefer using natural protection techniques instead of mechanical or chemical protective practices. There are several ways to protect crops from wild animals, including;
- Fish or garlic natural emulsion; it repels rabbits and deer
- Beehive fencing; it is a fence which is built to deter elephants based on their natural fear of bees. Elephants are repelled by the sound of honey bees and this practice is beneficial as it serves as an extra source of income.
- Chilli peppers; these peppers are hot because they’re loaded with capsaicin. The strong smell is so irritating that most members of the wild animals avoid it. Chili-pepper products repel dogs, cats, deer, rabbits, rodents, and many insects.
- Peas, Lavender, Soybean, and Beans are excellent repellents against rabbits and are also give an additional source of income.
- Egg-based repellent; homemade repellent against deer
- Castor oil; it keeps away burrowing animals such as moles. It won’t kill animal pests, but it will repel them. To harness the effect, you want to apply castor oil directly to the soil. The formula will work best for a week or so even in the rainy season.
- Garlic Spray – Garlic spray repels various animals like deer, rabbits, and opossums, and damaging insects from plants.
3. Chemical repellents
This is one of the best practices for protecting crops from animals and birds. Chemical repellents active substances such as Anthraquinone, Butanethiol, and Methyl Anthranilate can be used to keep wild animals away from crops.
4. Biophysical barriers
These are made of bamboo sticks, coconut tree bunches, or other available shrubs; low-cost practice but also low efficiency in protecting crops against wild animals.
Plant Barrier Plants
This is one of the best practices for protecting crops from animals and birds. Plants also can act as natural deterrents to certain species. Certain plants can keep mosquitoes away, rosemary, garlic, and oregano can deter deer from entering your crops and chowing down on your plants. Cayenne pepper tea can keep away unwanted critters such as rabbits, squirrels, deer, and maybe even bears.
5. Electronic repellents
This is one of the best practices for protecting crops from animals and birds. Electronic repellents are an effective, long-lasting, and eco-friendly way for crop protection that repels animals without harming them. Farmers use one of the below two types of electronic repellents;
- Ultrasonic electronic repellent – its high-frequency sound waves repel wild animals
- Sonic electronic repellent – audible noise that scares wild animals
Crop Protection System against Animals Attack
To design this security system for farm protection. The main aim is to prevent the loss of crops and to protect the area from animals which pose a major threat to the agricultural areas. It is important to monitor the nearby presence of animals. It diverts the animal by producing sound and signal further, transmitted to the GSM module, and then gives a message alert to the crop owners. It is automated depending on the need so there is no manual work, thus saving time and also preventing the loss of crops. Whenever the animal is detected by the camera, immediately there will be a message alert to the owner of the crop.
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Animal detection system
Features of this animal protection system;
1. Simple circuit and easy to operate.
2. Fast and simple installation.
3. Location flexibility.
4. Low-cost maintenance.
5. Use the GSM module for alerting the owner of the crop.
6. Automatic operation.
Advantages of animal protection system are;
1. It requires no human supervision.
2. It causes no harm to the animals.
3. It is a highly flexible system.
4. It is also highly economical.
5. It is an effective and adaptive system.
Protecting Crops from Birds
Crop loss in agriculture due to birds is an on-going and increasing cost to growers. Controlling birds is one of the main challenges farmers face every year. Crops attack by birds is one of the major reasons for crop failure and economic loss.
Birds are damage different types of crops during vulnerable stages in different agro-ecological regions of the country. The extent of bird damage to crop depends on several factors such as the concentration of local bird population, total area under the crop, cropping pattern habitat of the area, season and physiological status of the birds
Bird damage in crops is more likely to reach an economic threshold where birds are numerous, feel at ease, and have access to desirable crops. Damage is concentrated in areas where bird habitat and susceptible crops adjoin. Orchard blocks and small fields with a higher edge-area ratio are more susceptible, and the damage is worse when neighboring food sources are scarce or compromised. Controlling early damage is more beneficial since if you can keep them out long enough they will find other food sources and may not return to your crop.
Bird pests-the main culprits;
- Common house sparrow
- House crow
- Common myna
- Blue rock-pigeon
- Red-ringed parakeet
Some types of birds are useful to agricultural farmers because they eat insect pests. But some birds do a lot of damage to crops. The birds can virtually destroy a crop and spoil tons of produce in storage.
Crops Damage from Birds
Some crops commonly damaged by birds include pearl millet, barley, maize, mustard, sorghum, sunflower, and wheat. A single bird consumes 8 to 25 grams of fruit and grain per day. Birds can spoil crops with their scratching, pecking, faeces, and feathers.
Birds are difficult to control from crop damage; they are intelligent, adaptable, and move from place to place. Birds can get used to certain control methods, so it is very important to change the method used, to innovate. Farmers are seen slinging stones or making noise to scare birds. These are inefficient and uneconomical methods to reduce crop loss.
Cotton and nylon nets – Cotton string nets are spread over mango groves and fruit orchards. Cloth bags are tied to individual fruits like pomegranate and papaya. While nylon nets with l/2-inch mesh to prevent the passage of small birds are used on small crop areas. Some nets are expensive and not feasible to protect larger areas. Nets are recommended to protect valuable crops.
Scarecrows – Scarecrows of different sizes and shapes scare birds at the seed sowing and dough stage of the crop.
Fireworks – Fire or sudden flashes of light, accompanied by loud noise, are frequently used in the form of crackers.
Recorded noise – Recorded distress calls are amplified over speakers to drive away perching birds from the agriculture fields. This is expensive than other machines but more effective in orchards and smaller crop areas.
Reflective ribbons – Polypropylene, metallic, shiny red, and silvery-white strips, 1015 meters long and 15 mm wide, are tied to stakes in the field. Between 50 and 60 such strips, tied from north to south, are required per hectare land. The reflection of bright sun rays and the humming sound formed by the wind over the strips scare birds from the fields.
Cost of Birds Repellent Device
The cost of Birds Repellent Device (Protect Agricultural Crops from Birds) is approximately
Rs 3,540/Piece. That’s all folks about protecting crops from animals and birds.
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